Welcome home, Lilu Clementine.
This weekend has been one of my busiest. As I sit here tonight, editing, publishing, and editing some more, awake purely by the magic that is coffee, I feel amazing.
June has been kind enough to award me opportunities to work with new clients and old friends. Lilu's parents being the latter. After an ultrasound on Friday confirmed it was "go time," Erica was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center to begin the induction process around noon. Darren kept me in the loop straight through the evening and into Saturday morning as she progressed slowly over the course of 24 hours. My usual nervous excitement gradually morphed into calm patience (as always I use the word patience loosely). As is the case with all births, I didn't want to head over to the hospital too soon, especially while Erica could be catching some much needed shuteye. So as usual, I waited for my 5cm mark.
I've lived in Bergen County for over 7 years now, and Saturday I was reminded of my one major complaint about living in Hudson County (I grew up in Bayonne)... the traffic! The closer I got to the hospital, the more congested my commute became. Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny, summer afternoon, and because of that, it took me longer to drive two city blocks than it would have to drive four exits on New Jersey Turnpike! While waiting at a red light, I texted Darren to ask if there was anything I could pick up from the cafeteria for him on my way up, but there was no need.. SHE WAS ABOUT TO START PUSHING!
I made it to the parking lot and found myself gracefully (ha!) jogging to the main lobby, and not so calmly waiting to be checked in at the front desk. I rode the elevator to the fourth floor, turned the corner to Labor and Delivery, and rang the bell for entry and was met with silence.
There must have been lots of babies being born, because the nurses station was empty. After ringing the bell enough times to actually feel like I was being obnoxious, I was lucky enough to be let in by a nurse on her way to start her shift.
Once inside room 14, I was greeted by a team of about six medical staff and Erica happily calling my name. After over 24 hours, two epidural attempts, and lots of discomfort, she was finally in the home stretch and beyond ready to meet baby Lilu.
I arrived on the fourth floor at 2;55pm, and Lilu was born at 3:12pm. Needless to say, if I had to wait on one more red light, I would have missed such a smooth and calm delivery. Darren was the perfect cheerleader, soft spoken and so supportive. Erica didn't make a peep, just listened to the direction of her doctor and pushed through as though she had the experience of a third time Mom.
The staff at JCMC was awesome and gracious enough to let me shoot. I made sure to keep as much staff as possible out of my shots, and kept my focus on Erica and Darren as they requested. Erica's delivering physician even let me capture a shot of her placenta! It was my first time being allowed to since I have only ever worked in hospitals, and every birth so far I have not had the opportunity.
*warning for the squeamish*
INCOMING IMAGE OF PLACENTA!
Within minutes of being born, Lilu was so curious and aware, opening her beautiful eyes to soak in her new surroundings.
Welcome home, little one.
I am so honored to have played a tiny role in your big day, and I cannot wait to watch you as you grow. Huge congratulations to Erica, Darren, and their entire family!